What do Stalin, Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. have in common? They all knew how to influence people. These techniques can be used for good and for evil, and they can be used by smart biomeds who want to help their customers and lead the institutions they serve.

imageMore and more biomed technicians are finding themselves in leadership positions, where they have to deal with employees, supervisors, clients and peers. In this arena, technical knowledge is no longer enough. Today’s technicians must master the art of motivating and influencing people.

Ever since 1936, when Dale Carnegie authored his landmark How to Win Friends and Influence People, recognized leaders have written about how they motivate others to do things for them, usually through a ghost writer, since getting other people to do things for you is one of the tenants of good leadership.

Fear, intimidation, and power were keys to influencing people in ancient times. Vlad the Impaler, Ivan the Terrible, and more modern dictators such as Aldolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin used these unethical and dangerous tactics. However, while the typical “power play” may gain short term results, it simply won’t work in today’s society. Even Attila the Hun cared for his followers. “Punishment is to be reserved as a consequence of last resort and sparingly applied only when an unhappy, uncooperative employee if higher needs for job satisfaction are not met. Job satisfaction means offering employees the opportunity to reach self-actualization, the stage where people truly excel and perform to their highest standards.

Basketball coach Rick Pitino observed, “Even the most cynical people have dreams. We all want to believe that we are unique, special … When we were little kids in the playground we didn’t dream of hitting singles in the first inning. We dreamed of that home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series.”

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